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Secretary To President Bio Implicated In Hajj-gate Corruption Trial

The defence lawyer for Sheka Sahid Kamara, former Special Assistant to President Koroma on Social Affairs, has on Tuesday 10th October 2018, asked the Court to invite Julius Sandy, Secretary to President Bio, to testify during the Hajj-gate trial.

Lawyer Aruna Bundu-Conteh made the application after he pointed out that Sandy, who was then the secretary to former Vice President Victor Foh made summary transactions with regards the 2017 Hajj committee.

The defence lawyer further stated that Sandy took part in several meetings in respect of the 2017 Hajj.

In his submission, Lawyer Bundu-Conteh directed the Court to an authorisation of $1 million USD made by Sandy but according to ACC witness, Bockarie Noah, stated that the $1 million USD was never in dispute during the ACC course of investigation. Kamara’s testimony to the ACC also revealed that the 2017 hajj committee never followed the 2016 hajj template adding that the committee deviated from the 2016 template.

A Le300 million joint account operated by Kamara and his wife at Eco-Bank was discovered by the ACC with regards the 2017 hajj. The Le300 million reserves, Kamara told the ACC was kept for emergencies with orders from former Vice President. But Foh told the ACC that he has no knowledge about such an account. The Le300 million was later returned to the Ministry of Social Welfare on orders from the ACC.

Kamara also told the ACC that $80,000 USD reserve was left in the hands of the former VP Foh for emergencies when he left for Saudi Arabia but the ACC investigations pointed out there was no clear evidence to support that the $80,000 Kamara allegedly left was handed over to Foh.

Kamara, the first accused in the 2017 hajj corruption case, also told the ACC that $80,000 USD and Le300 million reserves for emergencies was initiated by Foh and with the knowledge of Minkalu Mansaray, former Mines Minister and Chair of the 2017 hajj committee.

Both Foh and Mansaray said to the ACC that they have no knowledge about such monies. Former Vice President Victor Foh, former Mines Minister, Minkalu Mansaray, Abubakarr Carew, Fackeh Conteh, Mohamed Alie Bah, Minister of State and Sheka Sahid Kamara, Special Assistant President Koroma’s Office on Social Affairs are charged with eight counts including Conspiracy to Commit Corruption Offences, Misappropriation of Public Funds, and misleading the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

The accused are former executive members of the 2017 Hajj Committee. They were acting on the Committee that was supposed to organize and implement activities leading to a pilgrimage to Mecca. They are accused of stealing $80,000 USD, between 1st January and 30th September 2017.

The matter continues today as defence patiently wait for another ACC witness, Nuru Deen Yilla, to testify in the matter.

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